All posts by Tanya Kennedy Luminati

Tanya Kennedy Luminati

About Tanya Kennedy Luminati

When she is not at Matrix Group managing day-to-day operations of MatrixMaxx, she is at home being a full-time mom to her son, Alexander, playing video games with her husband, or brewing up a pot of soup for family and friends. She makes a killer white bean and sausage soup. Be sure to ask her for the recipe the next time you see her.

Question: Does a Member Login REALLY cost you sales?

The Big Question

maxxlogin_mmI am seeing a battle brewing in the association market regarding the need for users to log in to a site or service. The big question: If there is a member login, does it cost the organization sales – if the member is presented with a login, will they go away, never to return?

For pure consumer sites – especially for non-essential luxury items – the answer to this question is probably “yes.” It gives the user a chance to sit back and say “Ugh. Do I really need this cute metal rooster for my garden?” So these types of sites are doing all sorts of things to make checking out as fast, easy, and painless as possible.

But what about for membership organizations, whose members have purposefully joined the group presumably because they want to interact, engage, learn, and attend?

In interacting with my clients, I am seeing the following trends:

  • IT and operations teams don’t just want a login, they want to add 2-factor authentication (2FA or TFA) to make it more secure. They do NOT want to risk a breach that must then be explained to the Board and members.
  • Membership teams want the login to stay as it is to ensure a unified member record and experience. i.e., all of their meeting, committee, interaction, transaction and communication history is tied into one record that is searchable, sliceable, studiable
  • Marketing and Communication teams want no barriers and no logins. They want the user to be able to click a link in an email that says “Register Me!” and that’s it. One step. Conversion. Done.

This conversation gets particularly heated about meetings/events, some of which may even be free for members. The crux of it: Are we driving away members who might otherwise attend because they are finding it too onerous to log in?


One membership association embroiled in this discussion wanted to see some numbers to quantify the debate. So we looked into their analytics and pulled out one simple piece of data: how many users exited at the login page that leads to the registration form? This does not necessarily mean that these members didn’t come back and register later, and it doesn’t tell us why they left, but it is a piece of information that can be used in the discussion.

For this one member-based trade association in the last year, there was an 11% average exit rate for those who landed on the meeting registration login page.

Awesome. But what does this mean? How does this compare? Is this normal? Great? Horrible? The MatrixMaxx AMS team researched this rate to get a benchmark on industry ‘norms’. An internet search didn’t reveal too much:

  • A lot of webmasters seem to be reporting exit rates of 40% ( source )
  • Conventional wisdom seems to be saying that for a basic B2C site, an exit rate of 50% seems expected, but for a member-based site it should be ‘much lower’ ( source )
  • One group noted that the average non-profit exit rate was 18%, but that was more than six years ago, and there is a lot more info competing for our attention now ( source )

So the MatrixMaxx AMS team did our own exit-rate research, pulling from a sample of about two dozen of our own member-based association organizations. For our member-based organizations, for the last year, we were seeing a 9-17% exit rate from the meeting registration login page (an average of 12.5%).

So our trade association client with an exit rate of 11% on the meeting registration login is better than average! Now we’re going back to dig even deeper. Why are these people exiting? Do they come back? How can we improve the experience but still maintain a secure, unified member profile?

What experiences and exit rate statistics are others seeing in the membership organization (trade association and professional societies) market? The more bench-marking data we can all share, the better we can make informed decisions.

Wearable Tech at ASAE Tech: Insights and Innovations

Pie chart showing time split in ASAE Tech conference

I recently attended the ASAE Technology Conference and was able to opt in for their tech experiment with second-generation wearable beacons. These little beacons work in conjunction with wall-mounted receivers and are built to return real-time data.

This was an experiment to see how effective the beacons would be, as well as the depth of information they could glean.

Did the beacons work 100% correctly? No.

Was it an exciting experiment that promises exciting things to come? YES!

What can be done with beacons?

On the last afternoon of the conference to a packed session, Layla Masri from Bean Creative talked about their experience at the National Geographic museum with the less expensive wall-mounted, non-wearable beacons that depended on users downloading the app upon entry. Notifications popped up in the app based on where the user was in the exhibit, and it tracked data about how much time users were spending in certain locations. This gave National Geographic interesting data on what visitors were really looking at… at least those visitors who had downloaded the app. That’s the risk you run with opt-in solutions.

Sean Parker of the Consumer Electronic Association talked about using beacons at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES). They created a scavenger hunt to get attendees excited to download the app and use it, and they used the data in real time to change flows to low-traffic areas.

How did they do this? With food, of course! The team moved portable cookie/snack/coffee tables around to drive traffic. You can just imagine how this would work.

Hungry person sees another person eating cookie. “Where did you get that cookie?” they ask.

“Why, down aisle 6, over there.”

And like magic, traffic starts to flow into that far corner that no one was visiting.

While wearable beacons are currently cost-prohibitive for huge shows like CES, they are an interesting concept for smaller shows and also potentially for museums and historic sites that can charge a small fee for them. The beacon can work with an app to provide context-sensitive info on-the-fly, which would help curate the experience. For instance, a visitor could walk by this big mural or that statue, and the app would throw an alert showing interesting facts about the mural or the next cool thing to look at after seeing the statue.

ASAE Tech takeaways

This brings us back to my experience at ASAE Tech with the cutting-edge next generation of wearable beacons being worked on by TurnOutNow. The goal was for the beacons to provide real-time statistics on where you had visited and what or who you should visit next, based on what you had done so far. However, this was the biggest show yet for these new little badge-mounted wonders, and they overwhelmed the servers with data the very first morning of the conference! The real-time aspect was lost, but they still retained the data.

What they did manage to capture is a fascinating glimpse into the near future. Think of what you as an exhibitor or trade-show host could do with this kind of data:

  • How much time did someone spend at the coffee station?
  • How much time was spent in sessions?
  • How much time did each person – and visitors collectively – spend in the exhibit hall?
  • How did traffic to one booth compare to traffic to competing booths?

And for the producers of the conference, the beacons provided valuable data about flows and what was popular. It’s easy to do counts of people walking in the door, but it is harder to gather metrics for how long people stayed in the session. Just consider this question: Is the most popular session that one that 200 people walked into but then 100 of them left after ten minutes, or is it the one that 50 people walked into and all 50 stayed the whole time? How would that change how you run your trade show, conference, or meeting?

It was a fun experiment. I enjoyed checking my conference app on my phone to see new data appearing, even if it wasn’t 100% correct. I’m looking forward to what happens next year!

What experience do you have with wearable tech on a scale like this? Have you gotten compelling data that will guide your decisions? Tell us in the comments!

How to Choose an AMS That Will Meet Your Needs Over the Next Decade

Decision Foot PrintA few years ago, a prospective client shared his spreadsheet for AMS pricing decisions with me. His team was calculating which AMS was going to be the least expensive up through 3 years. Their reasoning? “Our Executive Director will probably be moving on by then, and the new one will probably want a new system, so why plan further than that?” But is that type of planning approach really the best for the organization and its members? Doubtful.


In a white paper entitled “How to Choose an Association Management System (AMS)”, the Bross Group notes that “Optimally, an AMS will provide you what you need for 10 plus years.” So how do you make the right investments to make this happen?

  1. During the AMS selection process, make sure this is the partner you want for a decade.
    • Are you comfortable with the team and the vendor in general?
    • Talk to over clients/users of this system. How long have they used it?
    • What have the last few releases of the product added? Past releases and schedule are a good indication of future commitment to enhancements
    • What is the pricing curve? Some AMSs get cheaper over time, some get more expensive over time. Be sure to crunch those numbers!
  2. Keep your staff trained!
    Unless you are lucky enough to have no staff turnover, you’ve probably got new people on board who weren’t there for the original AMS implementation and training. Just a few weeks ago, a client was complaining to us that it took 8 hours to reformat and tweak a meeting report they needed. This new staffer didn’t realize that a custom 1-click report had been built for her association that literally gave her exactly what she needed. Maybe some of YOUR staff are doing things the hard way when they could be doing it the easy way.

    • Keep process notes within your organization of how you use the system most efficiently for your organization
    • Take advantage of any training sessions or webinars offered by your AMS vendor. An hour of training could save 3 hours of doing something ‘the hard way’
    • Find out about customized training if you’ve had a large staff turnover
  3. Keep up with Product Enhancements
    Most AMSs are on a release schedule, so:

    • Make sure that you are following your schedule; when are changes happening that may add new features?
    • Watch out for documentation and training opportunities when the new releases come out. The MatrixMaxx AMS team always publishes extensive release notes and offers a free overview session webinar, as do other AMS vendors. This is a great time to pull everyone together for a brown bag lunch and listen to what’s new.
  4. Always ask; don’t assume
    If your AMS doesn’t do something you want it to, don’t assume it doesn’t or can’t. Maybe it is a feature that your association didn’t choose to implement. Maybe it is there and you don’t know it. Maybe it is being built right now and it will be live in 2 months. Ask the question and you may be very pleased with the answer.

AMS Trends to Watch Out for in 2015

What can you expect to see in 2015? For one thing, associations will continue to become more data driven. But what else can you expect to see? Here are a few trends to keep your eye out for:

  • CRM functionality in your AMS. Last fall, MatrixMaxx upgraded the TaskMaxx module to CRMMaxx. Just like other organizations, associations need to identify, track and manage leads. We believe CRM is hot and we’ll continue to see and hear more about it!magnifying glass data stream
  • Business Intelligence and Analytics. Your AMS holds a lot of data. With many systems offering a suite of comprehensive reporting, you’ll be able to dig deeper into your data, discover trends and patterns in your membership and start making decisions based on it.
  • Comprehensive API libraries to support integrations. We know that there isn’t one perfect system to do it all. Vendors will continue to work together on integrating their systems, but we’ll also have access to more APIs. More and more companies like reThinkData are building sets of comprehensive API libraries to aid in integration projects.
  • AMSs will become more mobile. To meet the needs of mobile users, AMSs will be required to make their systems responsive, giving users access to basic data when they’re on the go. They’ll also be likely to pull reports and visualizations for presentations and meetings. Takeaway: make sure the templates in your AMS are responsive.

Do you agree? Share your thoughts?

5 Tips to Keep Your AMS Data Clean

Keeping the data in your AMS clean is critical when it comes to managing your association. A badly managed AMS can impact your association’s ROI on marketing initiatives, fundraising activities and more!

When it comes to keeping the data in your AMS clean, you need to have:

  • Good data entry process in placeKeyboard from Morguefile for Maxx blog
  • Standards in place on how to format your data, including rules for fields, titles and other additional content buckets
  • Conduct data checks to ensure that member records are current and that there aren’t duplications
  • Provide staff with training on a regular basis

Here are some tips to help you keep your data clean:

  • Make sure you have all the information you need to create new record. You want to try to avoid putting in records with missing details, such as title, organization and member type.
  • Merge duplicate records to avoid having unnecessary ones.
  • Ask members to update their profiles on a regular basis. Contact members via phone or email, asking them if their information is up-to-date.
  • Use your search and query tools to find missing data in your records.
  • Make time! Commit at least 1 hour a week to running reports, staff training and data clean up.

What processes do you have in place at your association to ensure your data is clean?